collaboration tools and technologies

There is a period after you finish writing a book when you start to feel like you are about to throw it off a cliff into the ocean. Will anyone read it? Will anyone like it? Most importantly, will it help anyone?

And that even happens when you finish the second edition of a book that was as well-received as the first edition of Tom Mighell and I’s The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together.

We’re starting to hear from people who have read the book and it’s starting to feel like we didn’t throw the book off a cliff. In fact, we are very pleased with the comments we’ve gotten and are grateful for what people have had to say about the book.

Here’s a sampling.

Carolyn Elefant (of MyShingle.com fame) posted a comment on Facebook that made all the hard work seem worthwhile. Carolyn is a pioneer in the use of the Internet by lawyers and it’s difficult to put into words how much this comment meant to us:

The first edition of Dennis’ and Tom Mighell’s book on collaborative tech tools was released over 10 years ago and it soon became a staple of my law practice. I used the tech recommendations on wikis to help my then-30 member trade association draft 65 pages of comments on regulations for siting offshore renewables on the outer continental shelf and drafting and marking up legislation that lead to $50 million in federal appropriations for these nascent technologies. I have collaborated with my virtual assistant of 9 years using some or all of these tools and relied on them to attempt to create an #altlaw consortium law firm back in 2009 before anyone was doing that kind of stuff. Legal Tech is often confined to its own silos and so we don’t realize the profound contribution that it often makes to substantive law so I think it is important for those of us in the trenches who are actually using this stuff for real clients and real causes to share our experience. As an Audible convert, I don’t buy many books these days but I plan on purchasing this new edition at Tech Show.

Jordan Furlong of Law21.ca fame and the author of Law Is a Buyer’s Market: Building A Client-First Law Firm recently unleashed a “ttweetstorm” review that had us blushing, but very grateful:

Ten years ago, almost to the day, I published a review of “The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies,” by @denniskennedy and @TomMighell: http://bit.ly/2rGWoa1 1/10

If you’re a younger or newer arrival on the legal tech scene, you might not appreciate just how much Dennis and Tom were (and are) giants of legal technology development and scholarship. 2/10

Meeting and speaking with Dennis at my first ABA TECHSHOW was a thrill for me. When Tom highlighted Law21 in his “Inter Alia” newsletter as “Blawg of the Day,” I was so pumped I wrote a post about it. 3/10

“The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies,” as my 2008 review attests, was a landmark publication — but not just because of the extraordinarily detailed insight and practical advice it contained. 4/10

It was important because it both foretold and helped usher in an entirely new category of legal scholarship: The study of *how lawyers worked.* 5/10

That wasn’t a subject most people talked or wrote about. But Dennis and Tom saw clearly, before the rest of us, that legal technology was going to transform the “how” of lawyer work. That might seem commonplace today. It was borderline radical in 2008. 6/10

And they were entirely correct that the most significant impact of tech on how lawyers work would be “less about personal productivity and more about using technology to make it easier for people to work together.” 7/10

Collaboration is the future of law practice. More accurately, it’s the future of “legal services delivery,” a better phrase that focuses on value to the client and the relationships among clients and providers to create that value. Dennis and Tom saw that before any of us. 8/10

All of which is to say that I think “The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies” is one of the most important books in the recent history of law practice management and technology. And that’s why this next and final tweet is especially good news: 9/10

Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell have published a Revised Second Edition of “The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies” (https://shop.americanbar.org/eBus/Store/ProductDetails.aspx?productId=312056356&pubstartdate=2018-02-01&pubenddate=2018-05-08&sortby=Date+(DESC)&perpage=250 …). If you want to know the present and future of collaborative legal services, this is the book for you.

The thoughtful and wise John Heckman at the Does It Compute? blog recently posted a review that did a great job of summarizing our key points and themes and said:

The Second Edition of Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell’s Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies is long overdue. The book is a sweeping panorama of the wide variety of tools available to lawyers today in what is perhaps the most rapidly evolving area of web-based technologies.

The book has two distinct areas: “how to” accomplish varieties of collaboration, and arguments in favor of it. The latter element is probably even more important than the “how tos.” As they put it: “Technology choices are always more about culture than they are about technology.” They return to this theme repeatedly in an effort to address the issue of what I call “dysfunctional” law firms: where each individual senior partner is like a medieval duke in his own little castle on top of his own little hill.

Just one more (do I seem like a proud parent?):

Niki Black, the well-known author on legal tech, has a post on Above the Law called “Online Collaboration For Lawyers: Security Issues, Recommendations, And Predictions” that reviews the book in detail and also does a great job of covering our key points. Niki concludes:

Choosing the right tools for secure communication and collaboration in your law firm won’t be easy. But the time spent will pay off in the long run, since the collaboration choices you make today will necessarily impact your firm down the road. That’s why it’s so important to make educated decisions that will help to lay the groundwork for your firm’s future success. And if you’re not sure where to start, this book is a great resource that can help you make the right long-term collaboration software decisions for your firm.

I second all the points Niki makes about security in online collaboration in her post. Tom and I will be speaking on that very topic at the 2018 College of Law Practice Management Futures Conference in October. Our session is called “Cybersecurity is a Team Sport.” If you are interested in having Tom and me speak to your group on that topic, please contact me.

As for our book, we are delighted by the reaction so far. If you want to buy the book (and I know I’ve gotten you interested), you can get it at the ABA Shop.

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[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

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Now available:

The second edition of The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.